East German pre-fab architecture is not high on most people’s list of aesthetic delights. However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and there are those who find these buildings constructed out of concrete slabs endlessly fascinating – among them the architect and photographer Martin Maleschka, whose pictures show that, far from being drab and monochrome, Plattenbau design in fact came in many shapes and colours.
Founded in East Berlin in 1946, the Deutsche Film-AG – popularly known by its acronym DEFA – produced more than 700 feature films, 750 animated films and 2,250 documentaries before its demise in 1992. Some, though by no means all, of these productions even made it across the Wall and went on to become huge successes in West Germany and abroad. Let’s take a moment to remember some of the blockbusters and crowd-pleasers, hidden gems and forbidden fruit of East German cinema.
Time for Cinema – Film-Highlights from the GDR
So I’m leaving. After two years, I’m breaking up with Berlin. Although a break-up might not be the best way to describe it; I guess our Facebook status would be “It’s complicated”. Berlin will always be my big love, but the Netherlands and all my family and friends there are also calling louder and louder. I’m leaving with pain in my heart, but also carrying wonderful new friends, tons of memories and some unique life lessons. To make sure I won’t forget those lessons and to help everyone who won’t get the chance to live in Berlin, I’ll use my final blog post to share them with you.
Berlin is under constant construction. Image courtesy of Daphne Damiaans
While not quite a household name, Hellerau is certainly on every architecture graduate’s radar. Created in 1909 in a part of Dresden where founder Karl Schmidt-Hellerau had set up his furniture workshop, Germany’s first garden city was designed by Richard Riemerschmid. As a member of the German Association of Craftsmen (Deutscher Werkbund), Schmidt-Hellerau was committed to harnessing machine technology to manufacture high-quality pieces and offering a viable alternative to the mass reproduction of unoriginal designs.
You can buy furniture from Hellerau here. Continue reading